Events diary – March 2019 and beyond & March 2019 drilling headlines

WITH THANKS TO DRILL AND DROP

Top headlines this month

  • Cuadrilla’s fracking site released climate changing methane into the atmosphere during well tests

READ HEADLINE REPORT

Events in March 2019 and beyond about UK fracking, onshore oil and gas and campaigning

  • Court of Appeal hearing on Ineos protest injunctions
  • Continuing public inquiry into IGas plans for well testing at Ellesmere Port
  • Pro-democracy and anti-fracking rally
  • Regional strategy meeting for South Yorkshire and the East Midlands
  • Frack Free Ryedale fundraisers
  • Plus meetings, marches, rallies

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‘Concerning’ leaks of climate-changing methane gas reported at fracking site

Methane leaks at a fracking site near Blackpool have raised concerns about the capacity of the industry to produce gas without harming the environment.

Cuadrilla reported four spikes in methane above levels set by authorities since it began its controversial operation in October.

 

The largest event saw concentrations of the climate-warming gas rise to around 15 times higher than normal background levels.

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RAG NEWSLETTER Feb/March

Welcome to our February/March Newsletter

Contents
Roseacre Wood
Preston New Road
Variation of PNR Permit Application
Coffee Morning Saturday 9th March
Ribby Hall Event
Green Monday Speakers at PNR
Traffic Light System Review
Landowners Beware!
Change of Technical Director for Cuadrilla
End Fracking for Good
News from Other Sites

NEWSLETTER

 

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Mistrust and earthquakes: why Lancashire communities are so shaken by fracking tremors – Anna Szolucha

Mistrust and earthquakes: why Lancashire communities are so shaken by fracking tremors. 

Anna Szolucha                 December 14, 2018

On high alert
Local residents are concerned the earthquakes may cause cracks in the fracking well’s casing,  which could potentially lead to contamination issues. Some scientists claim the impact of these seismic events at surface is equivalent to dropping a melon onto the floor. But government officials and those in the fracking industry have dismissed the tremors   suggesting they are inconsequential. 
As a social scientist living in Lancashire, I have been researching the social impacts of shale gas developments since 2015. From what I have seen, there is much more to the tremors than just ground movements. The impact of the quakes that occurred far below ground reverberated strongly throughout the community living on the surface. To understand why this is the case it is important to understand local people’s experiences of shale gas exploration in the UK.
Fracking on shaky ground
 
The same operator, Cuadrilla, was fracking for shale gas in the area seven years ago. Two bigger and around 50 smaller earthquakes occurred over an eight-month period as a result of injecting fluid into a geological fault zone.In 2018  and under new seismicity controls   Cuadrilla was required to halt its fracking operations twice when the monitoring equipment detected tremors bigger than 0.5 local magnitude. The system was introduced to set “gold standard” regulations for this new industry. After the quakes, Cuadrilla’s CEO warned that making fracking commercially viable would be extremely challenging under the existing seismic monitoring system in the UK. He wanted the government to reconsider its position on seismic monitoring within weeks. 
Weeks passed by, the activity at the site was subdued for a month and no further seismic events were recorded until December 10 2018. Cuadrilla did not publicly confirm it had suspended hydraulic fracturing between early November and December. But it did say it was planning to engage with the regulators to change the upper limit on seismic monitoring.
 

Continue reading Mistrust and earthquakes: why Lancashire communities are so shaken by fracking tremors – Anna Szolucha

Drop support for fracking to protect climate, urge academics

 

Twenty-nine academics have called on governments and scientists to withdraw their support for fracking because of its climate change impacts. Writing to this morning’s Times newspaper, they say climate change is already causing extreme weather events and driving accelerated melting of ice sheets and glaciers.

The letter says a major cause is burning fossil fuels and rising methane emissions from fossil fuel extraction, particularly fracking. This coincides with what the signatories say is a “new era of cheap, clean renewable energy and storage”.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR SOUTHPORT REPORTER

Letter To the Editor:- “Fracking firms Cuadrilla and Ineos”

“HOW dare Fracking firms Cuadrilla and Ineos demand a change to the regulations they helped to develop and boasted about to gain planning permissions? In 2011 Cuadrilla operated free from proper controls and look what happened. They were forced to halt following the public outcry about the tremors they created because it was obvious they could not be trusted. The “safeguards” are thin enough (and constantly eroded by Cuadrilla once planning permission was granted at Preston New Road near Blackpool in 2018). To allow the companies to call time on the Traffic Light System which monitors the impact of fracking after a matter of weeks would be wholly irresponsible. Fylde residents and others around the country know that the claims the companies made about what fracking would be like in reality were fake : tremors came thick and fast and the red warning light (a rare occurrence residents were told) proved not that rare at all!! They cannot meet the standards they once commended and want to see them altered. This is not just moving the goalposts, but dismantling them! Since 2014 Cuadrilla has harassed fracking opponents with allegations of fear mongering. When experience shows (again) that fracking is incompatible with England’s geology (so different to the American shale beds) and population density (so different to America and Australia) they really can’t demand a new bar to be set, preferably one a snake could wriggle over!” Rowland Taylor, Lytham St Annes.

UK fracking friends and foes find common cause

For opponents of fracking in the UK, last week should have been a moment of celebration. James Brokenshire, secretary for housing, communities and local government, rejected an application by shale gas explorer Cuadrilla to carry out work at a second site in Lancashire. But anti-fracking groups have joined supporters of fracking in accusing the government of sending “mixed signals” as the future of the fledgling industry hangs in the balance.

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Cuadrilla applies to increase chemicals to ease fracking

Cuadrilla have applied to allow the addition of further chemicals, more silica and an incinerator to burn waste. Not only would this further industrialise the rural landscape and cause associated pollution, but it would also make a mockery of the original planning application, consultation and subsequent public inquiry. This is full scale hydraulic fracturing by parts – adding smaller but significant changes to the permit that will culminate in a large scale operation. This is just one fracking pad. Cuadrilla NEED hundreds of pads in the area to make it a viable business model”.

The deadline for the consultation is March 20th and we need as many people as possible to submit comments. A link to the Cuadrilla consultation is included here.

BREAKING NEWS ROSEACRE WOOD APPEAL REFUSED

The government has finally listened. Today it rejected fossil fuel company Cuadrilla’s application for another fracking site at Roseacre Wood.   

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A spokesperson for Cuadrilla said:

“We are naturally disappointed about the decision on Roseacre Wood and will examine the details in full before reaching a position.

“However, we continue to be focused on the shale gas exploration site in Preston New Road, where we have recently released very encouraging flow test results from the UK’s first horizontal shale gas well.

“Cuadrilla and its investors remain committed to this opportunity and the overall prize for the UK, which includes energy security, jobs and revenue for the country.

“These are all well within our grasp at Preston New Road and we seek to further prove this concept in the weeks and months to come.”

RAG Comment:

 “We are absolutely delighted that at last the government is listening to communities and recognises the inherent unsuitability of Roseacre Wood and the surrounding roads for heavy traffic.

“This application was rejected at every level by over 90% of local residents, seven town and parish councils, twice by Fylde Borough and Lancashire County councils, by the original Planning Inspector and even two local conservative MPs!”

“This has caused considerable stress and anxiety, residents have shown great determination and resilience in trying to protect their communities. “At last our community can relax.” 

“Over 13,000 people objected to the original plans. Our community has spent five years, thousands of hours and tens of thousands of pounds, producing evidence supporting Lancashire County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission.

We are still very concerned about this government’s intention to push fracking on unwilling communities and we will do whatever we can to support other communities faced with this threat.

We sincerely hope that Cuadrilla will respect the decision of the second Planning Inspector and the Secretary of State and will not attempt to challenge this decision. If the company does, it will meet fierce and sustained opposition.

“Fracking is not wanted and not needed. It is neither safe nor sustainable. There is no social license and communities will not be bought.”

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